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Mikhail Grachev wins safety car-riddled Singapore race two

WestCoast Racing’s Mikhail Grachev took his fourth win of the 2016 TCR International Series at the Marina Bay Grand Prix Circuit in Singapore, after a race that was heavily shortened due to several incidents, requiring the deployment of the Safety Car.

The Russian, who equals Craft Bamboo driver Pepe Oriola’s tally of victory this year, would take a lights-to-flag victory after the allotted 25-minute time limit was reached, ahead of B3 Racing’s Dušan Borković and points leader James Nash.

Nash was able to capitalise on trouble for the drivers ahead of him, with Antilla Tassi and Sergey Afanasyev clashing on lap three into Memorial.

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Afanasyev’s move to close off Tassi ended the Russian’s race, after both the front and rear end of his SEAT Léon TCR hit the barrier. Tassi would later retire on lap six, as a result of a steering issue relating to the incident.

Leopard Racing’s Stefano Comini also profited from the pair’s exit, as the Swiss driver tried to force Nash into a mistake, but settled for fourth ahead of B3 Racing’s Mat’o Homola, keeping him within two points of the Briton.

Jean-Karl Vernay made it two Volkswagen Golf GTi TCRs in the top six, ahead of WestCoast’s Gianni Morbidelli, who was pushed into a slide by Pepe Oriola, whilst battling for position.

Morbidelli would be able to continue, but Oriola was handed a drive-through penalty that saw him finish out of the points in 14th place, putting him 16 points behind Nash in the title battle.

Liqui Moly Team Engstler’s Davit Kajaja took a hard-fought eighth place ahead of Mulsanne Racing’s Petr Fulín in the Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR. The returning Kevin Gleason completed the top ten after a great fightback, having dropped down the order to 16th in the early goings.

The Opel Astra TCR of Jordi Oriola could have scored a points finish, had it not been compromised early on in the race, but the Spaniard made his way back up to 11th, ahead of China’s Martin Cao in the new FRD-developed Ford Focus TCR.

Macau’s Filipe De Souza took 14th place, ahead of the stricken pairing of Rafael Galiana and Neric Wei, who brought out the Safety Car for the final time, as Galiana had attempted to pass Cao, but went straight on.

Loriz Hezemans also retired on lap one with a technical problem on his SEAT, ending a disastrous weekend for the Dutch driver.

The TCR International Series now heads to the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia for the penultimate round of the 2016 campaign, which takes place between the 1st and 2nd of October.

Race result

1 8 Mikhail GRACHEV West Coast Racing Honda Civic TCR 9 25:55.217 2:27.637 1
2 62 Dušan BORKOVIĆ B3 Racing Team Hungary SEAT León TCR 9 0.456 2:28.059 2
3 54 James NASH Team Craft-Bamboo LUKOIL SEAT León TCR 9 0.751 2:28.275 5
4 1 Stefano COMINI Leopard Racing Volkswagen Golf Gti TCR 9 0.903 2:28.197 8
5 70 Mat’o HOMOLA B3 Racing Team Hungary SEAT León TCR 9 1.423 2:28.150 9
6 2 Jean-Karl VERNAY Leopard Racing Volkswagen Golf Gti TCR 9 1.681 2:27.843 10
7 10 Gianni MORBIDELLI West Coast Racing Honda Civic TCR 9 2.423 2:28.305 7
8 7 Davit KAJAIA Liqui Moly Team Engstler Volkswagen Golf Gti TCR 9 3.07 2:28.894 14
9 22 Petr FULÍN Mulsanne Racing Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR 9 3.567 2:29.111 12
10 24 Kevin GLEASON West Coast Racing Honda Civic TCR 9 3.924 2:29.175 11
11 33 Jordi ORIOLA Kissling Motorsport Opel Astra TCR 9 4.581 2:29.140 13
12 99 Martin CAO Hongwei FRD Racing Team Ford Focus TCR 9 5.16 2:32.072 17
13 68 Filipe Clemente DE SOUZA Liqui Moly Team Engstler Volkswagen Golf Gti TCR 9 6.046 2:31.129 16
14 74 Pepe ORIOLA Team Craft-Bamboo LUKOIL SEAT León TCR 9 6.114 2:28.307 6
15 65 Douglas KHOO Kok Hui Viper Niza Racing SEAT León Cup Racer 9 17.146 2:37.541 19
16 35 Rafaël GALIANA Target Competition Honda Civic TCR 6 3 Laps 2:31.157 15
17 64 Neric WEI Chaoyin Son Veng Racing Team Volkswagen Golf Gti TCR 6 3 Laps 2:30.832 18
18 9 Attila TASSI B3 Racing Team Hungary SEAT León TCR 6 3 Laps 2:28.217 4
R 77 Sergey AFANASYEV Team Craft-Bamboo LUKOIL SEAT León TCR 2 DNF 2:28.534 3
R 50 Loris HEZEMANS Target Competition SEAT León Cup Racer 1 DNF N/A 20

Complete race results

WATCH: Round 18 in full

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